August 20th, 2008 -- Posted in American Politics |
I can’t promise this is the last post about healthcare but the Center For American Progress recently published a comprehensive article on Healthcare and its associated costs:
With health care costs escalating four times faster than wages, it’s no surprise that both ends of the political spectrum concur that affordable health care is an important goal.
I am currently looking for a new job because my current occupation is not as productive as I would like it to be, but talking to my friends about the healthcare issue, I often bring up the story about my $200 a month premium I used to pay for my own health insurance in Massachusetts working for a health care company. If I paid that much, I can’t imagine what the ordinary American is paying… The problem is how do we achieve affordable healthcare? This is where the politics diverges and we have freedom of choice on one hand with some people losing out or covering everyone without freedom of choice on the other hand. The CFAP has an excellent counterpoint table for common conservative statements:
Please do read the whole article because the need for affordable healthcare is well argued and if the issue is not addressed, it will only worsen in the next administration.
August 4th, 2008 -- Posted in American Politics, World Politics |
NPR launched a new series on healthcare last week focusing on the healthcare systems of Germany, France, Netherlands, U.K and Switzerland. I just stumbled upon this today, so for the moment I am going to discuss Germany. A few startling facts about the German Healthcare System:
- Germany’s version of universal healthcare has existed for 125 years
- The majority of German patients are happy with the healthcare system the way it is
- The system is financed not by the Government but by the workers and their employers
- Germany has a 99.8% coverage of its 82.3 million people
- Children are completely covered until they are 18
The first part of the German series is just under 9 minutes long so please do go to NPR to listen to it because as soon as I listen to the other recordings, I will post the relevant data here. One of the biggest arguments I have heard against universal healthcare in the USA is that any such system might cause huge waits and a shortage of doctors however this is apparently another conservative rumor because according to the OECD: Germany and the USA have the same number of doctors per 1000 people. Germany beats the USA in specialists with 2.4 per 1000 people compared to the USA’s 1.7.
NPR have also developed a nifty health comparison tool which allows anyone to compare the health system in the USA to other European countries. The fact is that the healthcare system in the United States is in trouble and the best way to fix that system would be to learn from countries like Germany who have been using universal healthcare for the last 125 years and made it work.
The last major argument is about freedom of choice, the German’s have a great term for their support of universal healthcare called Solidarität (solidarity). In America we have a phrase: ” United we stand.” Why does that phrase only extend to national security? Why not healthcare? German society has stood together to support every person for the benefit of the entire country why is that impossible in America? I would like to believe it is not impossible and with an Obama presidency, it can be done.
August 3rd, 2008 -- Posted in American Politics |
My dad started an online course with the University of Arizona recently educating doctors in the practices of Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurvedic medicine is an ancient Hindu system of healthcare that is quite different from the traditional western medicine that we all love and trust. In recent years, there has been a great intermixing of medicinal knowledge between the West and the East with more doctors educating themselves in the West with regards to Eastern medical knowledge like Acupuncture, Ayurveda, and Reiki. The advantages of these alternate forms of medicine are that they are generally low cost and in some cases work better for specific illnesses.
I am actually a big fan of acupuncture as it helps me de-stress which I have a hard time doing for some reason. These alternative types of medicine have aided in changing the American healthcare system to a small degree however greater change is advocated by Dr. Patch Adams. Dr. Adams has worked for the last 35 years to promote his different vision for healthcare and in doing so has traveled all over the world including 3 different war zones.
If anyone is a fan of Robin Williams, you might remember the movie Patch Adams which is actually about Dr. Adams and his life changing healthcare. The reason I bring up Dr. Adams today is because I am a big believer in Universal Healthcare having spoken to my older brother who lives under the NHS system in London. A few former french classmates for my post-grad who have nothing but good things to say about the French system. My father, a doctor who has worked within the Irish medical system for as long as I can remember and believes that everyone person has the right to health care.
Al Jazeera has a weekly segment entitled inside America, the most recent segment appearing two weeks ago concerning the healthcare system in America:
Inside USA - Healthcare Part 1
Inside USA - Healthcare Part 2
The simple and most startling point in this 30 minute show is that life expectancy in rural America is decreasing.
July 9th, 2008 -- Posted in American Politics |
Today, I continued to listen to Eric Alterman’s audiobook entitled: “Why We’re Liberals: A Political Handbook for Post-Bush America.” I am no where near finished but it is by far the best book I have read this year, I am actually shocked at some of the facts he speaks of in his book and no longer look at the American political biosphere as fair but rather skewed towards the conservatives. This may conflict with some of my earlier statements but I cannot fault Mr. Alterman’s argument hence I have changed my position. This is not the point of my post today as I wish to once more make a push for Universal Healthcare in America given the current campaign:
WASHINGTON, July 8 (Reuters) - A coalition of unions, think tanks and other groups launched an advertising campaign on Tuesday saying they want to ensure that health-care reform tops the U.S. political agenda after the November elections.
I wrote about a good friend of mine in an earlier post whose family opts to pay the fine in Massachusetts because the cost of healthcare is so expensive. The GOP and the Republican party do not offer a solution to people like this but would rather sit back and block resolutions that could effectively help 47 million Americans. They throw around excuses that the Government is inefficient, people waiting for important surgeries and the cost. What really sparked my continued thought and research on the concept of Universal Healthcare for every American was this op-ed post in the Detroit Free Press:
McCain intends to push for cost containment when it comes to the health care issue, a strategy that’s much more plausible than Obama’s hopes for universal health care. While many people think it would be better if all Americans were covered under a national health care program, the reality is that we would be better off setting up appointments and paying more money for the help we need. If we had a national health care plan, there would be longer waits for transplants and other surgeries, and less of an opportunity for people to take care of what they need medically in a timely manner.
The idea of universal health care sounds like a great concept, but Obama fails to realize that life is not a fairy tale.
The author of this post has clearly not done the relevant research into the various Universal Healthcare systems around the world. A question she might ask herself is why is America the one of the few nations in the West without a Universal Healthcare system? Why do 47 million people not have health insurance yet no one wants to do anything about it? The cynical answer is that the healthcare industry of which I was apart of at one point, loves to shower money on the Republican’s so that they keep knocking down any legislation with the hopes of helping the people who cannot afford to pay for health insurance.
The only case I am going to argue today is the moral case because America to me is about equality and things are not equal at the moment, from the American Medical Student Association:
The consequences of America’s decision to treat health care as a privilege extend far past the uninsured. With employers dropping health insurance at a record pace, more and more middle class Americans are at risk of uninsurance. Those who work for companies that continue to offer health insurance find themselves paying a higher share of health care costs than they did previously.1 Finally, employees are finding their wage increases to be smaller and smaller as the cost of providing health insurance skyrockets for employers.
The most direct way in which the insured are affected by the lack of universal health care is illustrated by a 2005 study that surveyed people who filed for personal bankruptcy. In this study, 46.2% of those surveyed cited a medical cause for their bankruptcy. Of note, only 32.6% of those citing a medical cause of bankruptcy were uninsured at the time of filing, meaning that almost 7 out of 10 people in the survey were insured when they filed.7 In other words, high medical bills and lost income due to illness can lead to bankruptcy even for the insured. A society that believes that people should pay a lot of money for the privilege of having health care is a society in which only the extraordinarily rich are truly immune to the threat of medical bankruptcy.
The only point I want to make personally is that every single American deserves access to basic care regardless of wait times for surgeries, costs, and inefficiencies. People should have the option in the current financial climate to be able to rely on the government to prevent themselves from going bankrupt paying for healthcare. This will not happen with the current administration but hopefully in 2009, the politicians in Washington will finally pull through for the American people and enact the comprehensive healthcare reform that has been so needed in the last decade.
June 11th, 2008 -- Posted in American Politics |
I found this site on Digg and it is truly a gem; the author details why someone should “vote” Republican. No, I will never vote Republican despite my agreement when it comes to certain national security issues. The bottom line for me is that the American security situation has improved hugely hence security should not be anyone’s major concern when they vote, instead voters should consider the policies that each candidate intends to implement in order to fix the economy. The GOP’s tax breaks for the rich and the companies haven’t worked so it’s time to change the fundamental’s of how the american economy operates in order to keep the USA competitve. This video is for all those democrats who might be thinking of voting for Senator McCain: